[ilds] RG Justine 1.1 -- "again"

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Tue Apr 10 06:55:41 PDT 2007



        The sea is high *again *today, with a thrilling flush of
        wind.  In the midst of winter you can feel the inven-
        tions of Spring.  A sky of hot nude pearl until midday,
        crickets in sheltered places, and now the wind un-
        packing the great planes, ransacking the great planes. . . . 
        (my emphasis)


There might be so many things to say about this beautiful opening, but I 
will begin by asking how this opening "again" conditions so much of what 
follows in /Justine /1.1 and the episodes following upon it?  The aching 
pull of the Past returning tide-like upon the Present becomes at once 
the subject and the style of those early episodes--cf. how the undertow 
of Time's rhyme has begun to change how the wind and the words work: 
"unpacking the great planes, ransacking the great planes. . . ." 

Since the narrator's opening lines depict a Present moment so heavily 
freighted with Past moments--so much so that in earlier printings he 
must "limp about"--I am tempted to return "again" to one of its lost 
meanings, as in "again/-st/ today."

When was the "then" before this "again"?

And what precisely is happening with the seasons?  Is winter being 
pulled backward by "the invention of Spring," or is it being tugged 
forward?  (Nice latinate phrase, that invention.)  Why is "Spring"--at 
least in initial printings of /Justine/--invoked in a higher sense while 
winter is left unemphasized, in the lower case?

I suspect that Jamie will be able to flush out the traces of Eliot's 
croaking voice, which seems to have "sheltered" itself away under the 
island's rocks.  Is this the "reverberation / of thunder of spring over 
distant mountains"?  Come out. come out  from under those rocks. . . .

CLS

-- 
**********************
Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu
**********************

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